The enemy comes, goes, and is gone
Assyria: scheduled to die1
Well, too bad for you,
Kingdom killer not yet killed.
Betrayer not yet betrayed.
When you’re done killing, you’ll be killed.
When you’re done betraying, you’ll be betrayed.
Save us, LORD2
LORD, be kind to us.
We trust in you and count on you.
Give us strength in the morning
For the day ahead.
When trouble comes, save us.
When you show up, nations scatter.
4Then spoils of war get stacked in layers
Like locusts in a swarm,
And caterpillars in a heap.
Sky LORD of earth5
The LORD deserves high honor.
He lives in the sky above us.
He brought justice and goodness to Jerusalem.
He generously shared his treasure:
Protection, wisdom, and know-how.
This earned him the people’s respect.
Brave soldiers cry7 8Travelers desert the streets.
Road trips aren’t worth it.
The peace treaty broke,
And the trust has died.
9Abandoned fields and farmlands wither.
Lebanon’s crops have rotted.
Green plains of Sharon
Are brown as the desert.
Forests of Bashan and Carmel
Drop their leaves and die.
10“It’s my turn now,” says the LORD.
“People will see what I can do,
And they’ll honor me for it.
11The best you accomplish
Is like chaff waste from grain
And leftover stubble in the dirt.
A wind will blaze over you
And burn you in a fire.
12You’re going to flame into ashes
Like thornbushes tossed in a bonfire.
13Near and far, they’ll hear what I’ve done.
And locals will see my power firsthand.”
Bad people with the shakes14
Evil people in Jerusalem are scared.
These trembling sinners ask their questions:
“Can anyone here walk through fire?
Can anyone survive in a burning land?”
These are folks who tell the truth.
They refuse to profit from exploitation,
Take bribes or shed blood for money.
They want nothing to do with evil.
16They’ll live in safety,
In a fortress of rock,
With all the food and water they need.
The king comes, enemies go17
You’ll see the king
And he’ll look like a king.
His kingdom will reach into horizons.
And to questions you ask today.
“Where did everyone go?
Where’s the bean counter who counted our taxes?
Where’s the captain who took over our forts?”
19The rude, crude people have disappeared,
Taking their foreign language with them.
A language you couldn’t begin to understand.
20Take a good look at Jerusalem,
Our city of festivals.
It’s a peaceful town,
Secure as a tent staked hard to the ground
Tied with ropes no one could break.
21The LORD will be with us,
In a wonderful land nourished
by rivers and streams flowing deep and wide,
Clear of ships sailing against us.
22The LORD is our judge and ruler.
The LORD is our king and Savior.
23The enemy is gone for good.
Their ships won’t sail anymore.
What they left behind belongs to the people.
Everyone gets a share,
Blind and cripple as well.
24Not a soul in Jerusalem will complain
And say, “I’m feeling sick today.”
For whatever sins they’ve done in life
Are forever forgiven now.
Literally “Zion,” an endearing nickname for Jerusalem.
The Hebrew word that shows up in some English translations of the Bible is “Ariel.” It means “brave person.” What “Goliath” meant to Philistines, “Ariel” meant to the Israelites. An “Ariel” was a champion and a hero. “Ariel” is one of the nicknames for Jerusalem, like “Zion.” See it also in Isaiah 29:1.
The bad news is that war is coming. This could refer to Judah’s King Hezekiah sending peace ambassadors to Assyria, headquartered in what is now northern Iraq. This would have been sometime before 701 BC, when Assyrians surrounded Jerusalem. Assyria rejected the plea for peace. They wanted to strip Judah’s wealth. Hezekiah agreed to give the Assyrians about 10 tons (10,000 kg) of silver and a ton (1,000 kg) of gold. Assyria’s king took the silver and gold, then broke his promise by coming to Jerusalem to get the rest. He and his army left without getting inside Jerusalem (1 Kings 19:35-37).
More literally, they’ll see “the king in his beauty.” That doesn’t mean he’s good looking. Some scholars say it’s a phrase that typically means he’s wearing the royal uniform and surrounded by the props and the people that make up a king’s court.
Jewish Law required all Jewish males ‘to go up’ to Jerusalem in a kind of pilgrimage three times a year (Deuteronomy 16:16).
The apparent metaphor is a bit odd since Jerusalem is not only free of enemy ships, but of the rivers they would need to sail anywhere on anything but mud. Perhaps the rivers symbolize prosperity and adequate rain. The reference to enemy ships might suggest the warships that sailed on the Nile River in Egypt and the Euphrates River in Assyria and Babylon, in what is now Iraq. Egypt, Assyria, and Babylon will no longer threaten the Jewish nation.
Well, this is either heaven, a future earth with a cure for sickness and aging, or a metaphor. If it’s a metaphor, it may express a coming day that Jews would call shalom, the Hebrew word for “peace.” It means more than “absence of conflict.” Another way of expressing the “shalom” of Jerusalem and of the nation is to say, “May all be well with Israel.” Shalom means peace along with prosperity, comfort, good health, and honesty. It is complete care being provided for the nation, with all needs being met. It’s a wish for the best in all good things.
- Sorry, there are currently no questions for this chapter.